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Technology Assessment

Gordon Gow


There are numerous approaches to technology assessment but it is essentially a systematic method for exploring technology developments and assessing their potential societal effects. It was typically implemented as a strategy to inform policy decisions within government and industry but now includes a growing body of scholarly research in science and technology studies ( Herdman & Jensen 1997 ; Hill 1997 ; La Porte 1997 ). As a research strategy, technology assessment is best viewed as a pragmatic arrangement of theory and method emphasizing one or more concerns: the design and development of an emerging technology; a known technology-related social or environmental problem; or the introduction of a new technology into society ( Porter 1980 , 51). One influential approach that attempts to combine all three concerns is known as constructive technology assessment (CTA). This approach was first developed by the Netherlands Organization of Technology Assessment (NOTA), now known as the Rathenau Institute, along two major paths: by introducing public participation in the technology assessment process, and by the funding of several key studies looking at the value of introducing technology assessment in the early design stage of a technology project. CTA represents an important contrast with the so-called “early warning” approach of technology assessment as it developed in North ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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